Dania Beach approved a 105-room hotel on Federal Highway that would operate under the midscale Avid brand, amid a surge of new development in the city.
Commissioners Tuesday night unanimously approved a site plan for the six-story Avid Hotel at 321 North Federal Highway, together with multiple variances. The approval is conditioned on the developer’s responses to unanswered technical questions posed by staff from the city’s development review committee, which reviewed the hotel project July 25 and Sept. 26.
Commissioners agreed to variances from the city’s land development code, including a 20-foot-wide driveway at the hotel (25 feet is the required width) and an awning that would cover less than 80 percent of the hotel’s perimeter (80 percent is the minimum the code requires).
Dania Beach commissioners also approved a proposal to omit from the site plan any “street trees” along Federal Highway. Although the city’s land development code requires street trees along Federal Highway, the Florida Department of Transportation has resisted approving the trees because they could obstruct the visibility of motorists turning onto the busy road from the hotel’s 66-space surface parking lot.
“It may be overkill by FDOT, but that’s how they tend to operate … They’re much more stringent than they used to be,” Leigh Kerr of Leigh Robinson Kerr & Associates told commissioners. He is a Fort Lauderdale-based planning consultant that proposed the site plan on behalf of the owner of the property, Miami-based Comerlat Hospitality 1, LLC.
County property records show that Comerlat bought the site, a former gas station location, from Boca Raton-based AVS Property, LLC, for $2 million in June – 263 percent more than the $550,000 acquisition price that AVS paid in 2015. Comerlat is managed by Juan J. Ferraez and AVS by Alexy Shchetnikov, according to state records.
The developer and city staff are in talks with FDOT to win the state agency’s approval for the inclusion of street trees in the Avid Hotel development, city planning and zoning manager Corrine LaJoie told commissioners. “We’re having a lot of difficulty at the moment working with FDOT,” she said. “The applicant is still in negotiation with them because there has been some precedent set with the hotel to the east side of Federal Highway, a Comfort Inn where they did allow trees.”
An architectural variance approved along with the hotel site plan allows the omission of a pitched roof with overhangs, a code requirement, because the “Avid brand requires a flat roof with no pitches,” LaJoie said. InterContinental Hotel Group introduced its Avid Hotel brand in 2017 as a lower-priced complement to its midscale Holiday Inn Express brand.
The Avid Hotel project is part of a wave of real estate development in Dania Beach that includes the 102-acre, mixed-use Dania Pointe development, where Spirit Airlines is preparing to build a new corporate headquarters as part of a $250 million campus.